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Motoring news

Audi’s new Q cars

April 12 2017

Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space...

Road tests

Audi Q2 puts quality over size

March 21 2018

Audi’s Q2 was one of the first premium compact SUVs on the market. It sits below the Q3, Q5 and the gigantic, seven seat Q7 in Audi’s ever growing range. Although it’s about the same size as the Nissan Juke or Volkswagen T-Roc, its price is comparable with the much larger Nissan X-Trail or Volkswagen Tiguan. Even a basic Q2 will set you back more than £21,000 and top whack is £38,000. Then there’s the options list which is extensive to say the least. My 2.0 automatic diesel Quattro S Line model had a base price of £30,745 but tipped the scales at just over £40,000 once a plethora of additions were totted up. Size isn’t everything, however. In recent years there’s been a trend of buyers wanting a car that’s of premium quality but compact enough to zip around town. It may be a step down in size but the Q2 doesn’t feel any less classy than the rest of Audi’s SUV range. The interior looks great and is user friendly in a way that more mainstream manufacturers have never been able to match. The simple rotary dial and shortcut buttons easily trounce touchscreen systems, making it a cinch to skim through the screen’s menus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eQ5p5Z7-Ek&list=PLUEXizskBf1nbeiD_LqfXXsKooLOsItB0 There’s a surprising amount of internal space too. I took three large adults from Dundee to Stirling and no one complained about feeling cramped. As long as you don’t have a tall passenger behind a tall driver you can easily fit four adults. At 405 litres the boot’s big too – that’s 50 litres more than a Nissan Juke can muster. Buyers can pick from 1.0 and 1.4 litre petrol engines or 1.6 and 2.0 litre TDIs. Most Q2s are front wheel drive but Audi’s Quattro system is standard on the 2.0 diesel, as is a seven-speed S Tronic gear box. On the road there’s a clear difference between this and SUVs by manufacturers like Nissan, Seat and Ford. Ride quality, while firm, is tremendously smooth. Refinement is excellent too, with road and tyre noise kept out of the cabin. It sits lower than the Q3 or Q5 and this improves handling, lending the Q2 an almost go-kart feel. On a trip out to Auchterhouse, with plenty of snow still on the ground, I was appreciative of the four-wheel drive as well. The Q2 is expensive – though there are some good finance deals out there – but you get what you pay for. Few cars this small feel as good as the Q2 does. Price: £30,745 0-62mph: 8.1 seconds Top speed: 131mph Economy: 58.9mpg CO2 emissions: 125g/km


Eagle is reunited with mother

December 30 2010

A young white-tailed eagle has been reunited with its mother on the Isle of Mull having recovered from a broken wing and leg. The eight-month old bird arrived in the Scottish SPCA's care in September, having been found struggling on the ground by a local farmer, and has been looked after at the rescue centre near Dunfermline. White-tailed eagles are being reintroduced to Scotland as part of the Sea Eagle Project, a partnership involving the RSPB Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage and Forestry Commission Scotland. Colin Seddon, manager of the Scottish SPCA's wildlife rescue centre near Dunfermline, said, "We take on any eagles which require rehabilitation as part of the project." He added, "Luckily his injuries were healing naturally, so we kept contact to a minimum and allowed nature to take its course." The eagle was returned to his nesting site and will be monitored by Mull Eagle Watch. Rescuers were relieved that the parents seemed to welcome the youngster back upon its release. "To our amazement, after about half an hour sitting on a shingle beach, he was joined by his mother, who we identified via her wing tags," Mr Seddon added. "There was a real chance that she'd have tried to chase him off. "However, they communicated with each other, sat together for a while and then the mother flew away." He continued, "The following day they were joined at the release site by the father, and again there was no squabbling." He continued, "Food is being put out for him for a short time and we've seen him feed which is very encouraging. "Wildlife rehabilitation is a major part of the Scottish SPCA's work and we were delighted to be able to provide our expertise to help return such a beautiful bird to the wild." Dave Sexton, RSPB Scotland's Mull officer, commented, "It's been touch and go for this young eagle and although it's early days since his release we're delighted that he's recovered. "Now it's up to him we've done all we can. "It could have been a very different story were it not for a real team effort from the Mull farmer who found him, the Scottish SPCA and the estate who welcomed him back. "Every chick is precious and we want to return these magnificent birds back to Scotland's skies so we're extremely grateful for everyone's efforts. "To see what was once a badly injured eagle reunited with its mother after three months away brought a tear to the eye of those watching. It was a heart-warming and touching sight."


White-tailed eagle chicks hatch from nest in Fife

June 12 2015

Two white-tailed eagle chicks have successfully hatched from a nest in Fife. It is the third year running that this pair of white-tailed eagles has nested in Forestry Commission Scotland woodland in Fife, with this year bringing the arrival of two chicks for the first time. The parents, known as Turquoise 1 and Turquoise Z after their wing tags, were released in 2009 as part of the East Scotland Sea Eagle reintroduction project, which saw 85 birds released on the east coast of Scotland between 2007 and 2012. Rhian Evans, East Scotland Sea Eagle Officer, said: “It’s really exciting that there are two chicks this year and we hope that both will fledge successfully. We have over 30 local volunteers involved in protecting and monitoring the nest, which helps keep the birds safe and provides us with an interesting insight into their lives.” The new arrivals in Fife come at an exciting time for white-tailed eagles in Scotland, as this year celebrates 40 years since the first young white-tailed eagles from Norway were released on Rum in 1975 and the 30th anniversary of the first wild chick to fledge on Mull in 1985.


SSPCA’s rescued sea eagle back in the wild

October 13 2010

The Scottish SPCA had to step in to nurse a sea eagle which had been released into the wild only weeks ago as part of a programme to reintroduce the birds in Scotland. Now, after some TLC at the charity's specialist wildlife rescue centre near Dunfermline, the young female bird has once again flown the coop. It is the first time that the charity has rescued, rehabilitated and released a sea eagle. The young bird was found struggling to survive on the west coast. The white-tailed sea eagle was one of 19 youngsters released in Fife a few weeks earlier as part of the east Scotland re-introduction programme organised by RSPB Scotland, Forestry Commission Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage. Since 2007 the project has released 63 of the birds back into skies above the east coast of Scotland. The latest batch of 19 were released from a secret location in Fife in August having arrived from Norway last June. But it appears one had soaring ambitions, which could have had tragic consequences. For Yellow 3 named for her identification tag decided to leave for the west coast. She then had to be rescued from Ardnamurchan by SSPCA Oban senior inspector John McAvoy last month. After being spotted by a dog walker, Mr McAvoy found the youngster soaked and unable to fly. She was also lean and in desperate need of feeding. He fed and cared for the bird overnight before taking her to the SSPCA's centre at Middlebank in Fife.Yellow 3 "naive"Centre manager Colin Seddon said, "Thankfully she had no physical injuries. "She was simply naive and got caught up in bad weather so all she needed was resting and feeding up." He added, "After recuperating in our care we released her last Thursday at a secret location." To help the young bird on her way food is being left out for her at the point of her release. Mr Seddon said the rescue mission was a team effort including Mr McAvoy, the RSPB Scotland and staff at the wildlife centre. He said, "We're all delighted to have been able to help this stunning bird, which has suffered much persecution over the years despite its protected status." RSPB Scotland Sea Eagle Project officer Claire Smith said, "Our young released eagles all behave differently each year and while the majority of birds are in Fife and Perthshire this young female flew over 100 miles in a couple of days so it's no wonder she was tired. "We are grateful to the Scottish SPCA for helping to rehabilitate this young eagle-at the early stages of a re-introduction every bird counts." Since the bird's release she has been monitored by her radio tag and has been checked on daily. Ms Smith said, "She's in really good condition and flying well. "It will be interesting to see where she ends up next." To report an injured or distressed animal call the SSPCA on 03000 999 999.


VIDEO: Twin hatchlings for Fife sea eagles

June 3 2017

Footage shows a sea eagle mother tenderly feeding one of her twin chicks, the latest hatchlings since the species was brought back to Scotland's east coast. Almost a century after the huge birds of prey were wiped out in the UK, the pair's birth has marked the 10th anniversary of a programme to reintroduce sea eagles. The raptors, also known as white-tailed eagles and often dubbed flying barn doors because of their 8ft wing span, were once a common sight in Scotland but the last one was shot in 1918. Filmed at their nest in a Fife woodland, mother Turquoise 1 can be seen in the clip bringing food to her not-so-little hatchling before father Turquoise Z swoops in to check on his young brood. The parents were among 85 birds from Norway released in the area between 2007 and 2012. The species' number is growing once more and they can often be seen at Tentsmuir Forest, in north-east Fife. This is the fifth year running that chicks have hatched in the programme run by RSPB Scotland, Forest Enterprise Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage. Graeme Findlay, environment manager with the FES team in Tay, said: “We are delighted that in this, the tenth anniversary of the project launch, that our star pair of white-tailed eagles have once again hatched chicks in Fife. “The birds kept us waiting, laying later than usual, but for everyone involved in the project we are delighted that they have successfully hatched twins. “It is because of the commitment and enthusiasm of the team of volunteers who watch the nest that we know exactly when the chicks hatched and we also get a fantastic record of the day-to-day activities of the birds.” It is hoped the chicks will flourish as last year’s Fife youngster, White L, has. Owen Selly, RSPB Scotland sea eagle project officer, said: “White L, is now a year old and we have been able to monitor his travels thanks to his satellite tag. “He has spent time in Deeside and Perthshire over the winter meeting up with White Diamond, a female who fledged from a nest in Speyside.” To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the project, a sea eagle festival is to be held on August 26 in Tayport, close to Tentsmuir Forest. A series of guided walks will also be held in the forest over the summer, on July 26, July 29, August 5 and August 9. For information visit RSPB Scotland’s website or phone 01738 630783.


Sea eagles give Loch Leven bird-watchers a thrill

January 16 2011

Eagle-eyed bird-watchers in Kinross have spotted a giant bird of prey at the Loch Leven nature reserve. Visitors have enjoyed the spectacular sight of white-tailed sea eagles flying above RSPB Vane Farm since last month. The majestic birds have been fishing in the nearby loch. One visitor described the sight as "amazing" and said she was "thrilled" to see a second sea eagle appear. The young birds are part of the East Scotland Sea Eagle release programme a partnership between RSPB Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage and the Forestry Commission Scotland. They hope to reintroduce sea eagles to east Scotland, building on successful reintroductions on the west coast. So far 64 birds have been released through the initiative since it began in 2007. The birds are easy to identify due to their coloured tags the female (turquoise tag H) and male (turquoise tag Z) are just over 18 months old and were two of three birds seen at RSPB Vane Farm last winter. This winter they have been roosting on the Loch Leven islands, making the most of the winter wildfowl. A third bird was electronically tracked on Sunday at the reserve and is thought to be a bird from last year's release. Photo used under Creative Commons licence courtesy of Flickr user Robert tdc.


East coast sea eagles spread their wings

August 20 2010

A total of 19 white-tailed sea eagles have been released into the wild from a secret location in Fife. The magnificent birds of prey the UK's largest arrived from Norway in June for the fourth year of the East Scotland Sea Eagle reintroduction project, a partnership scheme between RSPB Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage and Forestry Commission Scotland. Since their arrival, the birds have been reared in specially-built aviaries until they were old enough to fledge. They will join Scotland's growing white-tailed eagle population and help restore this species to parts of their former range in the east of Scotland. Claire Smith, RSPB Scotland East Coast Sea Eagle project officer, says a diet of pike, haddock and roe deer has helped ensure the birds are fit and ready for life in the wild. "Each bird has been fitted with a radio and wing tags so both project staff and the public can follow their progress. "Already we receive many calls from the public thrilled to have seen a sea eagle on the east coast. "Since the start of the east coast project in 2007, the survival of the released birds has been good. "We now expect that in the next few years some of our older birds will begin to set up territory on the east coast of Scotland and one day produce chicks of their own." Susan Davies, SNH's director of policy and advice, says that with it being the International Year of Biodiversity it is particularly pleasing to see the current efforts to restore the sea eagle population. "These new recruits will help ensure that this impressive bird's future, as an important part of Scotland's biodiversity, is secured." Charlie Taylor, Forestry Commission Scotland's district manager in Tayside, says once a white-tailed eagle is spotted in flight they are never forgotten. "The reintroduction programmes are very important and have been a success story so far. Hopefully, in time, everyone will be able to enjoy watching these birds on the east coast of Scotland," he said.


Fife sea eagle chick takes flight

August 10 2016

A white-tailed sea eagle chick that hatched in Fife woodland has fledged the nest. The chick was fitted with white wing tags and a satellite transmitter so staff at Forest Enterprise Scotland and RSPB Scotland could monitor its behaviour. It is the latest fledgling from the East Scotland Sea Eagle project, which successfully reintroduced white-tailed sea eagles to Fife between 2007 and 2012. Earlier in the season it was announced that the nest contained twins, although one of the siblings died of natural causes in June. Owen Selly, RSPB Scotland’s sea eagle officer, said: “As in previous years, the nest site has been closely monitored by our dedicated RSPB Scotland nest watch volunteers who help to protect the birds from disturbance and study their behaviour. “It’s fantastic to have another healthy chick fledge from the Fife pair, which was one of only two pairs to breed successfully across the east of Scotland this year.” This is the fourth successful nesting attempt for the sea eagle pair, who have fledged a single chick each year since their first attempt in 2013. The adults were both released in 2009 as part of the reintroduction project in Fife which is a partnership between RSPB Scotland, Forest Enterprise Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage. Graeme Findlay, Forest Enterprise Scotland’s environment manager, said: "Having been heavily involved in the release of the birds, and being lucky enough to have them choose one of our forests for the first successful nest in the east of the country, everyone within the local team is delighted at the part the National Forest Estate has played in helping to reintroduce this magnificent species back to the east of Scotland.” RSPB Scotland and Tayport Community Trust are inviting people to the Tayport Sea Eagle Festival on Sunday August 28. The event will take place at the Common on Tayport Promenade from 1pm to 4pm. Families can enjoy a range of stalls and activities including wildlife watching, storytelling, eagle tracking and face painting.


Sea eagle chicks hatch in Fife

May 23 2016

Two sea eagle chicks have hatched at a secret location in Fife. It is the fourth year running that parent birds Turquoise 1 and Turquoise Z have successfully bred. Having hatched and fledged single chicks in 2013 and 2014, the pair have now had twins in consecutive years.   Rhian Evans, East Scotland Sea Eagle Officer for RSPB, said: “It’s really great news that there are two chicks again this year. "Last year, one of the chicks sadly died of natural causes in the nest so we hope that this year both will fledge successfully. "We have over 30 local volunteers involved in protecting and monitoring the nest, which helps keep the birds safe and provides us with a fascinating insight into their lives.” The birds' location is being kept secret to protect them from disturbance or persecution. Also known as white-tailed eagles, the formidable raptors have been reintroduced to Scotland in a project run by the RSPB, Forest Commission Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage. Between 2007 and 2012, the project saw 85 birds released along Scotland's east coast. Last year, the Scottish population reached 100 pairs. The 100th pair nested on Hoy in Orkney, marking an expansion of their range. Sea eagles became extinct in Scotland following persecution, with the last bird shot in Shetland during 1918. The recent release of birds in east Scotland was the third phase of a lengthy reintroduction process which started in 1975. Birds released in Scotland have been brought in from Norway. RSPB Scotland, Forest Enterprise Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage will be running guided walks to help people see and learn more about the birds. These will take place at Tentsmuir National Nature Reserve on Sunday July 17, Saturday August 6 and Saturday August 27. For more details or to book a place, phone 01738 630783 or email perth.admin@rspb.org.uk Graeme Findlay, environment manager for Forest Enterprise Scotland, said: "The eagles can often be seen hunting along the shoreline at Tentsmuir, especially when they are busy providing food for demanding chicks. "The guided walks will be a great chance to see these magnificent birds at work, discover more about them and also learn about the reintroduction programme.” For updates and more information about the East Scotland Sea Eagles project visit www.rspb.org.uk/community/ourwork/b/eastscotlandeagles/default.aspx.